The B.C. Nurses' Union and provincial government have partnered to announce the creation of approximately 1,600 new regular nursing positions across the province.

The new jobs come one month after the B.C. Nurses' Union president Gayle Duteil warned that the health care system was approaching a crisis because of a serious shortage of nurses.

"To nurses who are trying to provide safe patient care while working short in ERs and operating rooms, and nurses who cope with overwhelming workloads, this agreement means that relief is on the way," said Duteil at Tuesday's announcement.

The positions are to be posted by March 31 and breakdown as follows:

  • Fraser Health: 400.
  • Interior Health: 300.
  • Island Health: 290.
  • Northern Health: 100.
  • Providence Health Care: 80.
  • Provincial Health Services Authority: 238.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: 235.

The province will spend $500,000 on recruitment and estimates there are about 7,000 nurses who currently work as casuals who can apply for the new positions.